Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
Wargames
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Post by Wargames » 01 Dec 2006 11:09

Bronsky wrote:
Yes, that's not much in the way of tonnage. Would it be too much asking for you to let the matter of submarines drop until you actually have information to contribute, now that you have information as to actual capabilities?
Strange...I used the tonnage provided by your side of the argument and you complain...Who is to blame for that? Then you admit that, even using your own figures, "that's not much in the way of tonnage", so, if you're offering an admission of defeat, I'll accept it and agree not to FURTHER point out the FAILURE of Italian submarines to supply North Africa. That is what you want, right?

But I will defer to RichTO90. If he wants to tell me I'm wrong and that Italian submarines provided a SIGNIFICANT amount of supply to North Africa and provides the supporting evidence, THEN I WILL STAND CORRECTED.

Go for it, Rich!

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Post by Wargames » 01 Dec 2006 11:42

Bronsky wrote:
You have been asked, several times, why you keep insisting on this "battalion transport", or "complete combat units" transport thing. So far you have failed to answer.
Hmmm! Actually I can't find where I was asked this before. But if it will help, I did ASK for the number of 135 mph Swordfish torpedo planes shot down by that ferocious Italian avy A/A fire that SOMEONE claimed RECORDS of and which I asked be POSTED, allowing for a 300 PERCENT MARGIN OF ERROR and yet somehow CAN'T GET A REPLY. I wonder why that is? Hmmm! I guess I should offer a 500 PERCENT margin of error and see if that helps but...I'm willing to bet...it doesn't.

But, hey, the bottom of the Mediterrean Sea is just covered with shot down Swordfish biplanes, right? Italy was just shooting them down left and right, correct?

But let's get back to your question (since no one answers mine). I insist on "battalion" transport (When actually I should insist on BRIGADE transport since Italian divisions did not generally fight on a battalion level but only on at least a brigade level) in order to demonstrate that ADDITIONAL fighting units, other than REPLACEMENT TROOPS, could be shipped to North Africa by Italian WARSHIPS.

So let's make it simple:

What Italian Division was landed by Italian WARSHIPS?

If that's too hard:

What Italian Brigade was landed by Italian WARSHIPS?

By now that should be pretty easy but I know you can't be bothered to post information that proves you wrong. Would you like me to withdraw the challenge in order to allow you to beat a hasty retreat? Or would you like to go back to the BATTALION level?

But, once again, I'll defer to Rich who seems to have more info than all of us combined. If you can't (as I'm now becoming accustomed to accept) provide such an example, perhaps Rich will come to your rescue and provide the day (datewise) that Italian WARSHIPS landed a division or a brigade in North Africa?

Go for it, Rich!

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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 01 Dec 2006 11:54

Andy H wrote:In relation to the Cadorna, she was transferred to Pola, where she was employed in a training role. You may well be right, but is that an quantified assumption, a guess or a fact? I have no problem with any of the first 2 two, as long as you state a source I have no problem with the third. In fact I welcome the third choice.
I think his argument is that this successful ambush by Force K led the Italians to stop using cruisers as transports to North Africa. Technically speaking, he's correct: no cruisers were used in a transport rôle afterwards. I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove, however, because destroyers were used as transports later on. Not sure what the fuel equation would be between sortieing 2 CLs vs 4 DDs, but I suspect it must have been a consideration. Force K was effectively destroyed on a minefield shortly thereafter, and the last cruiser force to leave Malta in early 1942 when air attacks picked up again, something that the Italians were aware of.
Andy H wrote:However submarines were identified as a limited means to a limited end. Given what information I've seen, they achieved a relative success.
It's a matter of point of view.

On the one hand, a prewar (1938) study had claimed that minelaying submarines could be turned into transports with a useful load of 600 tons. Practical loads were soon demonstrated to be only a fraction of that amount (see previous post for some figures, the 1942 loads were in the same range). Submarines had never been envisioned as a substitute to real transports, but they turned out to be even less effective than prewar estimates had allowed for.

On the other hand, within these limitations which made submarines an option only for the transport of vital cargoes to interdicted ports, they performed well enough. Which is why in the list of "convoys" consisting of "transports by warships" most of the entries well into late consist of submarines. So within the new parameters for cost-efficiency, they were successful enough that their operations were never discontinued.

Submarines proved successful as transports of high-value / critical supplies to dangerous spots. They weren't successful as transports beyond that small niche, but within it they were good enough. Whether this counts as a qualified success of failure is I suppose a matter of opinion 8-)

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Post by Jon G. » 01 Dec 2006 13:25

You actually got me to do the time-consuming and bewildering job of going through your posts on this thread to figure out what you meant at which time. Congratulations.
Wargames wrote:I don't think I ever said "warships weren't used as transports" as I'm well aware of the fuel cargos of the “DA BARBIANO” and “DI GIUSSANO” as well as Italian submarines being used as transports. But, if I said that, PLEASE POST IT so that I can apologize for that error on my part. Otherwise, feel free to post your apology for misquoting me.
Upthread, you wrote

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 401#981401
...the Axis wargamer must divide his supplies into three groups since they require three different types of transport ships. They are "hard" transport (food, ammunition, and vehicles) carried by cargo ships, "soft" transport (troops carried by liners), and fuel transport (oil tankers). As soon as one runs out of one of these types of ships, one runs out of the means to deliver its particular cargo characteristics...
You also wrote

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 151#982151
...You can load fuel barrells on airplanes and cruisers all you want and not provide the front with a drop in the bucket...
And you wrote

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 178#982178
...Warships will not transport troops...
At the heart of your comprehension issues is this post:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 053#983053

...in which you claim
... An Italian infantry battalion numbers over 800 men. What Italian warship ever landed a battalion anywhere? I'm not going to accept a citation of four guys in a rowboat. In supplying North Africa you must deal with meaningful numbers and the lowest meaningful denomination is a battalion...
If the lowest denominator in your wargame is a rectangular chit representing a battalion, then yes, that battalion can't be transported on a DD. However, as you have been challenged time and again, that battalion can break down into smaller parts as appropriate and be transported aboard several ships/aircraft/whatever. In real life, that is.

I don't expect an apology from you, but some clarity of thought would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to rant on about the estimated speed of the Espero at the time it met the 7th Cruiser Squadron. I haven't challenged it, I just don't think it is very important.
Are you trying to tell me that there were no 'known and hurried' situations for the Axis in North Africa after June 1940?
No. Now make your point.
My point was that there were plenty of 'known and hurried' situations for the Axis in North Africa after June 1940. That was in response to your point, which was

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 138#986138
...I also noticed no other instances of other Italian DD's being sunk carrying weapons, suggesting that this attempt to use DD's as battalion transports just 18 days after the war began was in response to a known and hurried Tenth Army request...
So you were justifying the Espero convoy on the grounds that it was 'known and hurried'. That justification is utter balderdash, my good Wargames.
As for 'known and hurried', a convoy of merchant ships had left for Tripolis a few days prior to the Espero convoy - no losses were sustained, but the convoy took 10 days to unload its cargo at Tripolis.
Unless you wish to deny that Tenth Army didn't put in requests for reinforcements before invading Egypt that weren't hurriedly met by Mussolini, I don't see your point.
Perhaps my point was too subtle for you. My apologies. My point was that the Italians used several different modes of delivery to the North African theater, whether they were in a hurry or not, and whether they had run out of liners, cargo ships or destroyers.
Or, are you trying to tell me, e silentio that since no DDs carrying troops & supplies were sunk after the Espero affair, you can conclude that this mode of transport was not used henceforth?
I didn't say anything about DD's being sunk carrying "troops and supplies". In fact, I even said Italian DD's could probably carry 30 tons of supplies and carrying troops was established by a previous post. What other inventions do you have that you wish to claim I said?
No? You wrote that

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 138#986138
... I also noticed no other instances of other Italian DD's being sunk carrying weapons, suggesting that this attempt to use DD's as battalion transports just 18 days after the war began was in response to a known and hurried Tenth Army request and, as the DD's were intercepted, was not repeated again in that it could be readily foreseen that future DD's so overloaded could also be run down and sunk. I still have not checked this out yet and suspect that an Italian DD loaded with just 30 tons could still make speed. But I'm unaware of any other DD being sunk afterwards with Espero's weapons cargo and no one else here seems to be aware of that instance either...
You'll pardon the partial repetition. You inferred that since you do not know of any Italian destroyers sunk post-Espero, that must mean that destroyers weren't used as transports after June 1940. That is a wrong assertion on your part; worse, it is based on flawed logic rather than fact. Look up the e silentio link I gave you.
If you want to avoid your own created (i.e. "strawman") arguments, you'll have to actually stay within my arguments. Except for the Espero convoy, I don't see any evidence of artillery being transported by DD. Do you?
Artillery? hold that against your own quotes, above, and explain to me how that qualification entered the picture. You're warping your own arguments beyond all recognition, and you keep putting words into other people's mouths. Obviously, a destroyer acting as a transport doesn't have to be carrying artillery in order to qualify as a transport.
But I'll allow you to expand your argument if you desire. I don't see any evidence of DD's delivering tanks and trucks either. This should be an easy point for you to demonstrate, as you have "136 tanks" delivered by Italian warships to prove me wrong. Which DD delivered them?
Where have I claimed that "136" tanks were delivered aboard destroyers? Post and quote, please. Failing that, you should perhaps provide me with the apology you are demanding. Do not put words into my mouth.
Post -October, 1941 DD transportation of troops followed the sinkings of three Italian liners used as troop transports in September, 1941. Liners were withdrawn at that point. Your argument amounts to this: absent liners, DD's were used as the alternative...
Ye gods, your logic is warped. Look to the example of the Espero, if you please. That very convoy demonstrates that the Italians were using destroyers for transport, also before they ran out of liners. Do not put words into my mouth.
Absent transports, the Japanese also used DD's as the alternative. So what is your point? Do you want to claim it worked? Can DD's land and supply divisions? Because Gaudalcanal says they can't. All I see is a progression of desperation. DD's cannot land artillery, tanks, or meaningful amounts of supply. As I've stated repeatedly, you can attempt anything you want. The question is, can you get it successfully done? No one seems to want to answer the question.
Nobody wants to answer that question because you repeatedly refuse a) that troops can be transported by warships, b) that warships do not have to deliver everything of a division's TO&E establishment in order to qualify as transports, c) you have not stated your criterion for 'success' and d) you keep warping your own arguments beyond all recognition while building strawmen by the dozen.
...
In the meantime, I take consolation that your original points about the narrow applications of liners, tankers and cargo ships have been thoroughly disproved.
Too bad you had no part in it, right?
No? That must be because your memory is at fault. It does not make my ego hurt that you do not read my posts, but it is, frankly, very annoying when you attempt to engage me in debate.

To wit, you wrote

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 508#983508
...Tankers are limited to fuel transport and irreplaceable for this purpose by either liners, cargo ships, or warships. The Axis forces in North Africa required up to 6,000 tons of fuel each month. The most ever delivered, by non-tanker means that I know is 1,200 tons in a month. Hence, tankers must make up the difference. Claims made here that tankers were not needed to make up the difference are contradicted by historical operations.
...which I gently refuted:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 786#983786
I wrote:...Three days after the Dielpi was sunk, the cargo ship Anna Maria Gualdi* arrived at Tobruk carrying 1,600 tons of fuel, which is 400 tons above your mark for highest tonnage of fuel delivered by non-tankers in a whole month, which sort of defeats your point on two levels :)...
Maybe you missed that too.
Wargames wrote:This statement of "thoroughly disproved" was based on the landings of two cargo ships. The fact that I accepted it does not mean there were two hundred such ships or even three. You seem to have an exaggerated concept of what amounts to "thoroughly disproved", but go ahead. I'll let you "thoroughly" disprove it. Name a third transport that landed fuel. If you can't, then you are dependent upon the information of others to make your case.
I need not look very far for other examples of fuel delivered by other means than tankers. Let's see, you claim 100% agreement with RichTO90's posts. Good, there you shall find further examples of non-tankers delivering fuel:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 223#986223
RichTO90 wrote:...As of 8 October 1942 16 merchant vessels were ready to sail to Africa with a total of 5,283 tons of gasoline (2,286 tons in the only tanker), 356 tons of diesel, 290 tons of lubricants, 528 vehicles, 650 tons of ammunition, 2,477 tons of rations, 40 tons of clothing, 1 ton of medical supplies, 20 medium and 4 light tanks, 11 guns, and miscellaneous other items.

Note that the tanker accounted for 40.5 percent of the fuel loaded, so its loss would have been major, but strictly speaking it wasn't neccessary and was a bit of "all the eggs in one basket", the other 15 vessels averaged 224 tons each, which spread the threat and also could have eased the unloading (I don't think that Tobruk had a tanker terminus at this point, but will have to check, certainly no fuel was unloaded there in October, and only possibly 60 tons in September). In fact though only 10 carried fuel, and one, the A. Gualdi, carried 957 tons of gasoline and 146 tons of diesel...
Wargames wrote:I eagerly await your reply.
There. Reconcile that with your train of thought and your apparent 100% agreement with Rich's post.

If you want another example, I can quote March 1942, during which month only 15,105 tons of fuel were delivered to North Africa. There was only one (1) tanker voyage that month, the Saturno. Since the Saturno was only 5,022 GRT, that means that the balance of oil that month was delivered by cargo ships - there are no warship shipments of fuel for March 1942.
Actually, and given overall losses on the North African convoy routes in the course of the war, I would be tempted to call the Espero's loss at least a qualified success, as I also wrote above. After all, the Ostro, the Zeffiro, the Pilo and the Missori all made it to their destination, for the price of one destroyer lost.
1) That defines the British interception as a qualified failure. 2) According to your logic, Italy could afford to lose a DD on every convoy to North Africa and it would be a "qualified success". 3) Why don't you tell us how many such "qualified success" convoys Italy could have run to North Africa before she ran out of DD's? The math isn't hard. Just count up her DD's.

I eagerly await your reply.


1) No, 2) no, and 3) no. The fact that I call one warship convoy a qualified success does not mean that I consider that a safe delivery system for the remainder of the war. It also does not mean that I call the RN's part in the Espero affair a qualified failure. I am simply holding the loss rate of one convoy against the aggregate loss rate of all convoys on the North African routes.

Keep your crazy extrapolations to yourself and, lest you forget, do not put words into my mouth.
Off hand, I don't think you'll be able to use the transport of the Folgore and Superga Divisions as the example, since both were airlifted and specifically created for air transport. Your best case is the 1942 landing of the Centauro Division. So go for it. What DD's and cruisers landed the Centauro Division and when? If you don't know then you're just pretending to know and making an argument invented out of thin air. "Pretend evidence" doesn't carry much weight with me.
No, you go for it. In the meantime, try reading this post of yours and reconcile it with what you wrote, above:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 151#982151
...The SM.81 aircraft was used to transport troops at that point but it only had a troop carrying capacity of 18 men. It could carry replacement troops but that's about all (It would take 170 SM.81's to transport just 3,000 men (what the liners carried) and they would arrive without equipment. Thus, by 1942, the Italians had a significant problem in transporting additional troops to North Africa...
Once again, I eagerly await your reply - And I predict that others have to come to your aid.
Pull your head out. Oh, and do not put words into my mouth.

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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 01 Dec 2006 14:06

Wargames wrote:Post -October, 1941 DD transportation of troops followed the sinkings of three Italian liners used as troop transports in September, 1941. Liners were withdrawn at that point. Your [Jon's] argument amounts to this: absent liners, DD's were used as the alternative.
1. Your argument were the following (page 2 of this thread): Further, the Axis wargamer must divide his supplies into three groups since they require three different types of transport ships. They are "hard" transport (food, ammunition, and vehicles) carried by cargo ships, "soft" transport (troops carried by liners), and fuel transport (oil tankers). As soon as one runs out of one of these types of ships, one runs out of the means to deliver its particular cargo characteristics. In the actual war, Italy ran out of liners and oil tankers, a situation that led to the inability to add forces as well as fuel the existing Panzers.

Jon, as well as practically everyone else except you, has argued that this was wrong. The Axis didn't need liners to send troops to North Africa. The reasons are:
Between June 1940 and May 1943, 261,383 troops were sailed to Africa. This includes troops sailing in vessels other than liners, like warships or regular transports, though breaking that figure down into its component pieces would take more time than I'm willing to devote to this discussion.
Between June 1940 and December 1942, the Regia Aeronautica flew 504,146 in. I already mentioned the Luftwaffe flying 46,000 troops in between July and September, 1942, and it flew another 40,000 personnel in between Dec 42 and Mar 43.

So on the one hand we have liners delivering less than 261,000 and on the other hand we have air transport delivering at least 590,000. Therefore the Axis didn't need liners to insert troops to North Africa, QED.

As another example, there is the case of prisoners shipped to Italy. Consider the following 3 convoys:
Cargo ships Lerici & Camperio, escorted by destroyers Circe, Clio and Freccia. 3,000 POWs transported from Benghazi to Brindisi (none on the escorts), arriving 1 August 1942.
Cargo ship Rosolino PIlo, escorted by Destroyer Circe, Benghazi to Naples, with a stopover at Tripoli to pick up 3,000 POWs, arrival 4 August 1942.
Steamer Amsterdam, escorted by destroyer Centauro: 2,000 POWs from Tripoli to Naples arriving 3 August 1942.

Gee, looks like one can indeed carry lots of people in ships other than liners...

2. DDs were mentioned as a rebutal of the following assertion from you: Warships will not transport troops. (p.2 of this thread). Neither Jon nor anyone else ever suggested that DDs or air transport, or whatever, was used as the sole alternative to regular troop transports. The point is that a combination of non-liners proved enough to send to Africa all the personnel that the Axis wanted to send.

3. You have since moved the goal forces from "add forces" to "add combat units" and used lousy maths to try and draw artificial distinctions. However, on the one hand, you claim that the Axis stopped using liners after October 1941, on the other hand you claim that only liners were suitable to add new combat units (as opposed to replacements to existing units). How do you account for the German units deployed in Tunisia, then? Your own arguments are self-contradictory. Which half of you should I quote to debunk the other half?

BTW, I had already mentioned 10th panzer division as an example of a unit that was not designed for air transport, yet successfully inserted into North Africa at a time when the Axis was supposed to have run out of liners, you just ignored it.
Wargames wrote:So far, no one has been able to show evidence of even a single battalion being landed (The Espero convoy failed).
As Rich pointed out, look up what the Germans and the Allies used in Norway, 1940, as an example of successful transport using warships.
Wargames wrote:Hmmm! Actually I can't find where I was asked this before.
Let me refresh your memory, then.
You repeated your original point about liners (p.2) Because the liner represents the fastest, single most efficient way to move a brigade or even an entire division, their availability (or lack thereof) becomes a factor in transporting large units.. Andy H asked Why the emphasis on a single Btn being delivered by a single ship?, I asked Please explain why these were not effective combat troops, and why truly "effective combat troops" could not be transported in warships. What's the practical difference between sending troops in warships or in aircraft?, see also Andy picking up again the point of German armor in Tunisia when you switched to "combat units can't be delivered on warships" (who claimed they could be? the equipment travelled in cargo ships).
Wargames wrote:But if it will help, I did ASK for the number of 135 mph Swordfish torpedo planes shot down by that ferocious Italian avy A/A fire that SOMEONE claimed RECORDS of and which I asked be POSTED, allowing for a 300 PERCENT MARGIN OF ERROR and yet somehow CAN'T GET A REPLY. I wonder why that is? Hmmm! I guess I should offer a 500 PERCENT margin of error and see if that helps but...I'm willing to bet...it doesn't.
You did ask. I didn't feel particularly compelled to answer in detail given that,
1. You've ignored most of the points that others have brought up on this thread, as well as demands for sources
2. You made the claim that Axis AA was pathetic, so you're the one who should be busy supporting it, not the other way around,
3. You haven't explained why that figure says anything about Axis AA effectiveness, as opposed to a ratio, other aircraft types, etc.
4.This is a loaded question. Given that the total number of Swordfish was small and you've asked for an absolute number, you will use the answer to claim that it was a low number.
5. But just to show that I do know what I'm talking about, here's an example. The RAF sent 5 Swordfish from Malta to attack an Axis convoy on the night of 12/13 April 1941. Of these, one crash landed in Tunisia from flak damage (the pilot was also wounded from shrapnel), and another ditches at sea close to Tunisia after running out of fuel (also from flak damage). That's two out of 5, 40%.Yet another Swordfish had been forced to crash land in Tunisia three weeks before due to flak damage from a night raid on Tripoli. So much for Swordfish missions being a breeze.
Wargames wrote:I insist on "battalion" transport (When actually I should insist on BRIGADE transport since Italian divisions did not generally fight on a battalion level but only on at least a brigade level) in order to demonstrate that ADDITIONAL fighting units, other than REPLACEMENT TROOPS, could be shipped to North Africa by Italian WARSHIPS.
I assume you mean "could not be shipped by warships". This doesn't answer the question.
The question is what's the difference between sending replacement troops and additional fighting units in terms of shipping? What does battalion/brigade/division transport consist of, according to you? What examples do you know of Axis combat units travelling in one ship, as opposed to personnel and equipment being shipped separately or even using different means of transport (e.g. planes & warships for the men, cargo ships for the equipment)?

Because an Axis division would fight together doesn't mean that it had to be shipped together. See the examples of the early shipment of the D.A.K. + Ariete divisions: they were spread over a month and a half in numerous convoys. I have written before that there's no practical difference between shipping combat units and shipping replacements. In both cases, you're sending troops and equipment. Unless you're planning to make an amphibious assault, the troops and their equipment need not travel together. If you think that's wrong, then please list the combat units that traveled with personnel & equipment in the same ship. I'm being easy on you here, because you initially wrote about divisions and no single ship could transport a complete division, even an Italian one.
Wargames wrote:So let's make it simple:

What Italian Division was landed by Italian WARSHIPS?

If that's too hard:

What Italian Brigade was landed by Italian WARSHIPS?
Why should I answer that? I never claimed that any was.
Wargames wrote:By now that should be pretty easy but I know you can't be bothered to post information that proves you wrong.
Oh, but I have in the past. And I would if I found any. It just happens that in this particular discussion, I'm not wrong.
Wargames wrote:But, once again, I'll defer to Rich who seems to have more info than all of us combined. If you can't (as I'm now becoming accustomed to accept) provide such an example, perhaps Rich will come to your rescue and provide the day (datewise) that Italian WARSHIPS landed a division or a brigade in North Africa?

Go for it, Rich!
I don't need anyone coming to my rescue, as I don't remember ever making such a stupid claim.
Wargames wrote:Go for it, Rich!
Yeah, serves him right for pouring oil onto the flames, that he be assumed to share your views and enlisted as your assistant as a result :P

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Post by RichTO90 » 01 Dec 2006 16:21

Bronsky wrote:Yeah, serves him right for pouring oil onto the flames, that he be assumed to share your views and enlisted as your assistant as a result :P
:lol: 8-) :P :roll:

Yeah, gee I wonder how Centauro and 10. Panzer got to Tunisia?

More later. Sonnenblume is pretty much done. Very illuminating, they transport two (granted small) armored divisions and nary a tanker in the lot? Maybe they just parked at Tripoli and waited for some tankers to show up so they could start the war? Or maybe they had to wait for the liners to bring the "complete combat" units?

I'm starting to lose track. :wink: 8O :lol:

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Post by Bronsky » 01 Dec 2006 16:31

RichTO90 wrote:Yeah, gee I wonder how Centauro and 10. Panzer got to Tunisia?
You're expected to prove that they travelled on warships, presumably with the tanks stacked on top of the turrets or something, can't you read ? :lol: C'mon, get to work! :P

And don't forget the extra panzer regiment while you're at it, the one with the Tigers!
RichTO90 wrote:I'm starting to lose track. :wink: 8O :lol:
Feel the power of the dark side, my son... Soon you, too, will have joined "The Opposition" and will have earned the right to have your words misrepresented and everything. :wink:

More seriously, don't rush but I'm looking forward to your Sonnenblume data.

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Post by Andy H » 01 Dec 2006 19:44

Wargames wrote:
Also, the speed of the Espero is not a classified secret. You can obtain her trial speed and actual sea speed on the internet (Although few actually reached this sea speed except in "dead calm" conditions.). The speed of the British 7th cruiser Division is not a classified secret either. Why you and Andy can't find it is anybody's guess but "some" might guess you're not trying very hard to find it
If you have the information, then post it, don't play games. Trial speeds and her everyday speeds can be found in numerous places, but I would thankful if you can give the actual speeds during the engagement. This is important because your stating that the fact it was carrying stores, affected its speed to such an extent that she couldn't escape.

This is from a PM from the Italian author Enrico Cernuschi
Espero and the other two ships were not carrying an AT unit of the Milice, but an AA one (a cousin of my mother dead on that mission, and he was ack ack).

The Turbine class could not do more than 29-30 knots at best; the similar Sauro class had been modernized in 1938 and was so able to achieve 32 knots; the Turbines not.

During that action Espero was able to hit first HMS Liverpool "One direct hit 4,7 inch direct action fuzed shell damaged Liverpool. The shell hit the armour belt at 180 station starboard, 3 ft. above the waterline, causing minor damage to the armour. Splinters cut the degaussing cable and penetrated two warheads". Being straddled Liverpool turned away and the following cruisers did the same htting, in the meanwhile, Espero. When the subsequent mess was over the two other Italian DDs were by now too much far as it was almost dark and Sydney, now the nearer ship at the by now crippled Espero as the British squadron had turned again, this time in countermarch order, finished the DD.

The Italians appreciated that as long as the French and British fleets in the Med. were allied, the total enemy main force (9 BBs and a carrier, even if in the two halfs of the Mediterranean, but with the chance to unite themselves in the Ionian Sea) were too much for the two Cavours (the two "Littorio" and Duilio were not ready and trained before Nov. 1940); Any large convoy for Lybia would be, so, in jepopardy or, worste, only a chance for a decisive battle which would put an end at the Italian war in an afternoon. Only small quantities of materials could be sent, so, by warships, submarines and planes. As soon as France surrendered the first only leaved, on 25 June 1940, bound for Lybia.
Bronsky wrote:
Andy H wrote:
In relation to the Cadorna, she was transferred to Pola, where she was employed in a training role. You may well be right, but is that a quantified assumption, a guess or a fact? I have no problem with any of the first 2 two, as long as you state a source I have no problem with the third. In fact I welcome the third choice
.

I think his argument is that this successful ambush by Force K led the Italians to stop using cruisers as transports to North Africa. Technically speaking, he's correct: no cruisers were used in a transport role afterwards. I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove, however, because destroyers were used as transports later on
[/quote]

Hi Bronsky. I agree with it what your post says.
My post was in response to Wargames
I believe that, if you check further, you won't find any other Italian DD's sunk after the Espero sinking while transporting similar material to North Africa during 1941-42 (I'll check myself but don't have time now.). They learned from the sinking of the Espero not to do that. This is why I say it doesn't work
.
I was trying to see what logic prevailed that stopped certain types of warships delivering supplies but not others.

Bronsky wrote
Andy H wrote:
However submarines were identified as a limited means to a limited end. Given what information I've seen, they achieved a relative success
.

It's a matter of point of view.

On the one hand, a prewar (1938) study had claimed that minelaying submarines could be turned into transports with a useful load of 600 tons. Practical loads were soon demonstrated to be only a fraction of that amount (see previous post for some figures, the 1942 loads were in the same range). Submarines had never been envisioned as a substitute to real transports, but they turned out to be even less effective than prewar estimates had allowed for.

On the other hand, within these limitations which made submarines an option only for the transport of vital cargoes to interdicted ports, they performed well enough. Which is why in the list of "convoys" consisting of "transports by warships" most of the entries well into late consist of submarines. So within the new parameters for cost-efficiency, they were successful enough that their operations were never discontinued.

Submarines proved successful as transports of high-value / critical supplies to dangerous spots. They weren't successful as transports beyond that small niche, but within it they were good enough. Whether this counts as a qualified success of failure is I suppose a matter of opinion.
If your stating that the Italians expected more from there submarine supplies, then they failed, given the posted figures. If however as I state, that the Italians had a limited (niche) expectations from this supply, I would draw the conclusion, again from the figures given that they achieved relative success.

Regards

Andy H

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Post by Bronsky » 01 Dec 2006 20:46

Andy,

As a clarification on submarines: I was trying to show why both sides of that particular issue could be argued. As I wrote, it comes down to a matter of opinion, depending on what you choose as a reference against which to assess success or failure. Therefore your conclusion is legitimate enough, I wasn't thinking of disproving it, just adding the additional data point of the prewar Italian expectations for their performance.

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Post by RichTO90 » 01 Dec 2006 21:55

Bronsky wrote:Feel the power of the dark side, my son... Soon you, too, will have joined "The Opposition" and will have earned the right to have your words misrepresented and everything. :wink:

More seriously, don't rush but I'm looking forward to your Sonnenblume data.
Okay, here goes. I wonder if this post is for the Opposition or for the Counteropposition? Note some interesting things in it....see if you can find the gems. (BTW, essentially this is drawn from Seekrieg, supplemented by the KTB of DAK and Pz.A.O.K. Afrika. I'm going to see if I can get a handle on Tripoli over the weekend. :D )

Sonnenblume Convoys:

Sonnenblume 1 (7-14 Feb 42):
German freighters Ankara (4768 BRT), Arcturus (2596 BRT), Alicante (2140 BRT) departed Naples on the evening of 7 February 1942, escorted by destroyer Turbine and torpedo boats Orsa, Cantore and Missori and aircraft of X Flieger Korps. From 8-10 February the convoy sheltered from Force H in Palermo and then made the run into Tripoli, arriving on 11 February. The convoy returned to Italy on 14 February and was attacked by British torpedo bombers en route without effect. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 2 (12-14 Feb 42):
German freighters Adana (4205 BRT), Aegina (2447 BRT), Kybfels (7764 BRT) and Ruhr (5954 BRT) left Naples on 12 February and arrived at Tripoli on 14 February escorted by destroyer Camicia Nera and the torpedo boat Procione. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 3 (22-26 February):
German transporters Reichenfels and Marb and probably the Italian Cità di Agrigento (?), and the freighter Menes (5609 BRT), escorted by the destroyers Freccia, Saetta and Turbine left Naples on 22 February and was joined by an Italian convoy of the freighters Sabbia (5788 BRT) and Silvia Tripcovich (2365) escorted by the torpedo boat Montanari, but Sabbia is torpedoed by HMS Ursula the same day and Silvia Tripcovich is torpedoed, probably by HMS Ursula off Sfax on 23 February. They are also joined by a high-speed convoy en route comprised of the Italian liners Esperia (11398 BRT), Conte Rosso (17879 BRT), Marco Polo (12272 BRT) and Victoria (13098 BRT), escorted by the destroyers Camicia Nera and Baleno, the torpedo boat Aldebaran and Orione and a screen comprised of the light cruisers Giovanni delle Bande Nere and Armando Diaz with the destroyers Ascari and Corazziere, that had sailed from Naples on 24 February. En route Menes was torpedoed by HMS Regent on 23 February (?) and Armando Diaz was torpedoed by HMS Upright on 25 February. The combined convoy arrived at Tripoli on 26 February.

Italian Convoy (24 February):
The Italian freighters Navi Honor and Santa Paola left Palermo for Tripoli and Arta, Nirvo, and Giovinezza left Tripoli for the return to Naples on 24 February. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 4 (25-27 February):
The German freighters Wachtfels, Leverkusen and Alicante, and the Italian freighter Giulia, escorted by the destroyer Vivaldi and torpedo boats Calliope, Orsa, and Procione left Naples at noon on 25 February, probably arriving 26 or 27 February? There were no losses. (Note that Leverkusen had suffered a fire in Naples circa 10 February that had destroyed much of its original cargo, including 13 tanks of 5. Panzer-Regiment. It was reloaded after repairs, but evidently was no longer carrying tanks, since it is explicitly stated that they came in on Sonneblume 8 – see below.)

Sonnenblume 5 (1-3 March):
The German transporters Castellon, Ruhr, Maritza, and the Italian Amsterdam, escorted by the torpedo boats Clio, Pegaso and Orione sailed from Naples on 1 March arriving at Tripoli on 3 March. At the same time Alicante, Arcturus, Wachtfels, and Leverkusen escorted by the destroyer Vivaldi and torpedo boats Procione, Orsa, and Calliope left Tripoli to return to Naples. There were no losses in either group.

Sonnenblume 6 (3-6 March):
The German freighters Adana, Arta, Aegina and the Italian freighter Sabaudia, escorted by the destroyers Tarigo and Freccia and the torpedo boat Castore left Naples on 3 March and arrived at Tripoli on 6 March. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 7 (5-10 March):
The German freighters Ankara, Kybfels, Marburg and Reichenfels, escorted by the destroyers Vivaldi, Da Noli, Malocello, Folgore and Lampo, left Naples on 5 March, were joined by the torpedo boat Centauro from Tripoli en route, and arrive at Tripoli on 7 March. A returning convoy leaves Tripoli on 5 March with the German freighters Castellon, Ruhr and Maritza, escorted by the auxiliary cruiser Ramb III and the torpedo boat Orione and Pegaso, arriving at Tripoli by 10 March. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 8 (Transportstaffel) (7-9 March):
The German freighters Alicante, Arcturus, Wachtfels, and the Italian Rialto, escorted by the destroyers Fulmine, Baleno and Turbine leave Naples on 7 March loaded with the tanks of Panzer-Regiment 5., arriving at Tripoli on 9 March. At the same time a return convoy leaves Tripoli with the German freighters Adana, Aegina, Arta, Heraklea and the Italian Amsterdam, escorted by the destroyer Tarigo and the torpedo boat Aldebaran. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 9 (Transportstaffel) (9-11 March):
The Italian freighters Andrea Gritti and Sebastiano Venier, escorted by the torpedo boats Alcione, Pallade, Polluce, Clio and Centauro leave Palermo on 9 March and arrive undisturbed at Tripoli on 11 March. A simultaneous Italian convoy with the tanker Tanaro and the freighters Caffaro, Fenicia and Capo Vita on the way from Trapani to Tripoli escorted by the auxiliary Attilio Deffenu and torpedo boat Papa, were attacked off the Tunisian coast by HMS Utmost and Unique. On 9 March Utmost missed Deffenu but sank Capo Vita (5683 BRT) an on 10 March Unique sank Fenicia (2584 BRT). But they are forced to ignore a northbound convoy of small ships by due to orders to conserve torpedoes at Malta.

Italian Troop Transport (12-13 March):
The Italian liners Conte Rosso, Marco Polo and Victoria left Naples for Tripoli on 12 March with a close escort of the destroyers Camicia Nera, Geniere and Folgore, and a distant screen of the cruisers Trieste, Trento, and Bolzano with the destroyers Carabiniere, Corazziere, Aviere and the torpedo boat Dezza. The convoy arrived on 13 March. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 10 (12-14 March):
At the same time an Afrika Korps convoy with the German freighters Castellon, Ruhr, Maritza, and Leverkusen departs for Tripoli escorted by the torpedo boats Procione, Orsa, and Orione, and a returning convoy leaves Tripoli with the German freighters Marburg, Reichenfels, Ankara, and Kybfels, escorted by the destroyers Malocello, Vivaldi, and Da Noli. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 11 (14-18 March):
The German freighters Adana, Aegina, Heraklea, and Galilea and the Italian Beatrice Costa, escorted by the destroyers Tarigo and Freccia and the torpedo boats La Farina, Missori, and Pilo, left Naples on 14 March and arrived at Tripoli on 18 March. There were no losses.

Italian Convoy (14-16 March):
An Italian return convoy with the liners Conte Rosso, Marco Polo and Victoria, escorted by the destroyers Camicia Nera, Geniere and Folgore, left Tripoli on 14 March and arrived at Naples on 16 March. There were no losses.

Sonnenblume 12 (16-18 March):
The German freighters Marburg, Reichenfels, and the Italian freighter Calitea, escorted by the destroyers Vivaldi and Malocello and the torpedo boats Cigno and Polluce left Naples on 16 March, while a separate group left Trapani with the German transports Ankara and Kybfels and the destroyer Da Noli, arriving at Tripoli on 18 March. At the same time a return convoy with the freighters Castellon, Ruhr, Maritza and Leverkusen, escorted by the torpedo boats Procione, Orsa and Orione, left Tripoli for Naples. Both convoys had no losses.

Sonnenblume 13 (19-21 March):
On 19 March a convoy with the German freighters Arcturus, Santa Fé, Procida and Wachtfels, escorted by the destroyers Saetta, Fulmine and Baleno, sailed from Naples to Tripoli. At the same time the Adana, Aegina, Heraklea, and Galilea, escorted by the destroyers Tarigo and Freccia and torpedo boats Missori and Pilo left Tripoli for Naples and 24 hours later a second convoy with Marburg, Reichenfels and Kybfels, escorted by the destroyers Vivaldi, Da Noli, and Malocello, and the torpedo boat La Farina followed. All three convoys reach port without loss.

Sonnenblume 14 (22-28 March):
Left Naples on 22 March and arrived at Tripoli on 24 March with the German freighters Castellon, Alicante, Maritza and Leverkusen, escorted by the torpedo boats Procione, Orione and Orsa.The convoy returned to Naples 25-28 March. There were no losses.

Possible Italian Convoys (26-30 March):
On 25 March the submarine HMS Rorqual laid a minefield west of Cape Gallo, Sicily. On 26 March a convoy ran into it and the steamer Verde (1432 BRT) and the tanker Ticino (1470 BRT) were sunk. On 28 March the torpedo boat Generale Antonio Chinotto also sinks in the minefield. Then on 30 March Rorqual sank the Italian tanker Laura Corrado (3645 BRT) with torpedoes and gunfire and on 31 March the Italian sub Capponi.

Sonnenblume 15 (28 March):
On 28 March HMS Utmost attacked a Tripoli bound convoy with the German freighters Adana, Samos, Heraklea, Ruhr, and Galilea, escorted by the destroyers Folgore, Dardo, and Strale, sinking the Heraklea (1927 BRT) and damaging the Ruhr (5954 BRT).

Sonnenblume 16 (29-31 March):
Left Naples and Palermo on 29 March and arrived at Tripoli on 31 March with the German freighters Ankara, Reichenfels, Marburg, and Kybfels, and the Italian Calitea, escorted by the destroyers Vivaldi, Da Noli and Malocello. There were no losses.

A convoy returning from Tripoli with the transports Aquitania, Galilea, Caffaro, and Beatrice Costa, escorted by the torpedo boats Clio, Cigno, Calliope and Pegaso, was attacked by HMS Upright on 31 March. Galilea was hit and damaged but was towed into port by Calliope and Pegaso.

Italian Convoy (23-27 March):
Left Naples on 23 March with the Italian ships Amsterdam, Caffaro, Capo Orso, Col di Lana, and Giulia, escorted by the torpedo boats Circe, Clio, Castore, Calliope, Centauro and Pegaso. There were no losses

A return convoy left Tripoli on 23 March and arrived at Naples on 25 March, with the German ships Arcturus, Santa Fé, Procida and Wachtfels, escorted by the destroyers Saetta, Fulmine and Baleno. There were no losses.

Battle of Cape Matapan (26-29 March)

By the end of February DAK reported a total of 13,468 men in Africa and by the end of March a total of 16,200 men had made it to Africa. Please note that these are DAK personnel only, which meant essentially Sperrverband Rommel/verstärkes 5. le.-Afrika-Division. To that could be added the roughly 2,000 Luftwaffe Flaktruppen that had arrived, it isn’t really clear if they are included.

Note that by 1 March 14 German freighters and 4 Italian liners had made it to Tripoli. From then to the end of March another 46 freighters were used to move the tanks of 5. Panzer-Regiment, supplies, and roughly 3,000 more men.

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Post by Bronsky » 02 Dec 2006 13:54

RichTO90 wrote:Note some interesting things in it....see if you can find the gems.
A bit of a disappointment from my point of view, because I already had that information, appart from the Luftwaffe escort. Ship movements and tonnage unloaded I already have, what I would love to see would be is what was in each convoy or even, let's dream, in each ship.

Some additional precisions follow. My source on ship movements is mainly the annex from the Italian official history "La Difesa del Traffico con l'Africa Settentrionale", vol.6 (thanks again, Davide). I've also been collecting figures from a variety of sources over the years, trying to integrate them into a global Excel spreadsheet, which I use for global statistics and easy access.
RichTO90 wrote: Sonnenblume 1 (7-14 Feb 42):
German freighters Ankara (4768 BRT), Arcturus (2596 BRT), Alicante (2140 BRT) departed Naples on the evening of 7 February 1942 ... made the run into Tripoli, arriving on 11 February. The convoy returned to Italy on 14 February ...
Left Tripoli at 9:30 on the 8th, arrived in Palermo 17:30, left on the morning of the 10th, Tripoli the next day at 15:00. Return leg (escort: Pegaso, Orsa): left Tripoli the 13th at 11:00, arriving at noon of the 15th in Naples.
RichTO90 wrote:By the end of February DAK reported a total of 13,468 men in Africa and by the end of March a total of 16,200 men had made it to Africa. Please note that these are DAK personnel only, which meant essentially Sperrverband Rommel/verstärkes 5. le.-Afrika-Division. To that could be added the roughly 2,000 Luftwaffe Flaktruppen that had arrived, it isn’t really clear if they are included.

Note that by 1 March 14 German freighters and 4 Italian liners had made it to Tripoli. From then to the end of March another 46 freighters were used to move the tanks of 5. Panzer-Regiment, supplies, and roughly 3,000 more men.
Total personnel transported by sea, German + Italian all branches of service was 19,557 in February and 20,184 (plus 791 lost in transit) in March.

I'll post more on the other convoys but don't have the time at the moment.

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Post by Jon G. » 02 Dec 2006 21:05

RichTO90 wrote:Okay, here goes. I wonder if this post is for the Opposition or for the Counteropposition? Note some interesting things in it....see if you can find the gems. (BTW, essentially this is drawn from Seekrieg, supplemented by the KTB of DAK and Pz.A.O.K. Afrika. I'm going to see if I can get a handle on Tripoli over the weekend. :D )...
Very interesting info, thanks for posting it in an accessible format. I'm comparing your info to what I already know - or, in some instances, what I thought I knew.

- I had the Herakles as sunk by a mine off Pantelleria, here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 710#924710 I shall proceed to edit my post accordingly. I did not know that the Utmost was operating from Malta already in March.

- Do you know which Sonnenblume transport Aufklarungs Abt. 3 was transported on? Was it with the very first shipment of German troops?

- It is interesting to see that the Italian liners Esperia, Conte Rosso, Marco Polo and Victoria only figure one time each, in one convoy, whereas most of the other merchantmen seem to be working pretty much around the clock. I wonder which conclusions can be drawn from that? That men are easier to move than material? Or, that it is more practical to move men and equipment aboard the same freighters? Or, do the Italian liners only figure once because they weren't part of Sonnenblume strictly speaking, just sailing in the same convoy on one occasion?

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Post by Wargames » 03 Dec 2006 01:43

Andy H. wrote:
What about the 10th Panzer Division and sPZ.Abt501. There equipment was shipped via cargo ships, and no doubt a ?% of the personnel would have gone with them.
Hi, Andy. That's a fair question. My understanding is that it was transported by the Germans. The Germans had created a series of flat bottomed, shallow draft, low tonnage ferries that were heavily armed against air attack (Some were even armored against strafing.). I'm no expert on these ferries at all but I obtained the following information on them from the internet. I don't know how accurate it is:

Marinefahrprahm or “F” boats


Picture:

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ ... index.html

Specifications:

Type A

Dimensions

Size (Max): 200 t
Length (Total): 47.04 m
Beam: 6,53 m
Draft: 1.45 m
Payload: 105 t
Crew: 17
Weapons
7.5 cm: 1
2 cm MG: 3
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 390 shp
Speed: 10.5 kn
Range: 1075 miles at 7.5 kn


Type B

Dimensions

Size (Max): 220t
Length (Total): 47.04 m
Beam: 6.53 m
Draft: 1.45 m
Payload: 105 t
Crew: 17
Weapons
7.5 cm: 1
2 cm MG: 3
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 390 shp
Speed: 10.5 kn
Range: 1075 miles at 7.5 kn


Type C

Dimensions

Size (Max): 220t
Length (Total): 47.04 m
Beam: 6.53 m
Draft: 1.45 m
Payload: 105 t
Crew: 17
Weapons
7.5 cm: 1
2 cm MG: 3
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 390 shp
Speed: 10.5 kn
Range: 1075 miles at 7.5 kn



Type D

Dimensions

Size (Max): 239 t
Length (Total): 49.82 m
Beam: 6.59 m
Draft: 1.35 m
Payload: 140 t
Crew: 21
Weapons
8.8 cm: 1
2 cm MG: 2
8.6 cm RAG: 2
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 371 shp
Speed: 10.3 kn
Range: 1066 miles at 7.3 kn

They typically carried 200 troops or 140 tons, and could carry tanks, including Tigers.

There were also Kriegstransporters (KT boats) which was a small, mass produced freighter:

Specifications:

795/834 BRT, 700 t, 62.00/67.50 length, later 63.00/67.50 x 11,00 x 1.80/3.10 m, 14.5 kn, 160 t of coal, range 1250 nm,
2 triple expansion machines, 3, later only 2 boilers, crew 53, 2x7.5cm, 1x3.7cm, 2x2cm, 2MG

They also created their own escorts for these ferries and transports, called "Artilleriefährprahm" or armored gunboats.

Specifications:

Type A

Dimensions

Size (Max): 300 t
Length (Total): 47.04 m
Length (Waterline):
Beam: 6.55 m
Draft: 1.7 m
Crew: 48
Weapons
8.8 cm: 2
3.7 cm MG: 1
2 cm MG: 8
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: Truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 387 shp
Speed: 10.2 kn
Range: 412 miles at 8.7 kn

Type D

Dimensions

Size (Max): 255-381 t
Length (Total): 49.80m
Length (Waterline):
Beam: 6.61 m
Draft: 1.3-1.4 m
Crew: 57-65
Weapons
10.5 cm: 2 (or 8.8 cm)
2 cm MG: 8
15mm MG: 1
Engines
Shafts: 3
Engines: 3
Type: Truck diesel
Performance
Total Performance: 368 shp
Speed: 8 kn
Range: 1075 miles at 8 kn


Exactly which and how many of each type were employed on the Tunis run, I can only state the 220 ton F boats served for certain although all of the above were used in the Mediteranean.
In relation to the Cadorna, she was transferred to Pola, where she was employed in a training role. You may well be right, but is that an quantified assumption, a guess or a fact? I have no problem with any of the first 2 two, as long as you state a source I have no problem with the third. In fact I welcome the third choice.
It is a fact that the Cadorna was pulled off this duty following the terrible loss of life that occurred when the other two CL's were torpedoed carrying petrol, exploded, and burned. No other CL's were used to transport petrol after that (AFAIK). But it is an example of someone trying to use a warship for supply and having it not work (In this case, it proved fatal to the crews). Anyone can try anything, but whether it actually works or not is important to determining the practicalities of supplying Africa.
Nobody has denied that transporting supplies only infringes upon a warships ability to do the thing it was intended to do. However in every response, you respond in the language of absolutes and jump to huge generalised assumptions (based on a single fact/event) which you then apply to anything happening after that fact/event.
That's because I've already reached the conclusion that certain methods of supply tried won't work in terms of a meaningful result and in comparison to the risks involved. This, to me, is an "absolute". It's rather like saying, "In theory it can't be done." However, it's still a personal opinion even though I present it with the confidence of fact. I'm pretty sure I won't be proven wrong but I was also pretty sure tankers were required to transport oil to Africa in meaningful quantities and I was wrong on that as two examples were demonstrated to the contrary. So, having learned that freighters can carry oil in meaningful tonnage I'm wanting to know if I'm also wrong in believing warships cannot carry combat troops or supply in meaningful quantities.
Like Bronsky I'm getting lost in what your actually asking, as your focus changes.
I imagine I'm guilty as charged. I did change subjects from tankers to warships, as explained above. I was also aware that Espero had been used as a transport but my information was that she she carried "one anti-aircaft gun" which, in June, 1940, almost certainly would have been a 20mm gun. Statistically, that is a meaningless cargo. John G's source stated "ten guns" which, if correct, is not a meaningless amount (a battalion normally has 8-12 guns). He forced me to change focus to whether what was possible was also practical. Since I knew of the Espero case but no other, it raised the obvious possibility that such future method of transport was canceled as impractical after the Espero sinking. If so, then my argument that warships cannot provide meaningful supply quantities (in terms of the "big picture") remains valid in spite of Jon's example to the contrary. So far (although I haven't read through the posts below yours yet), a second example has not been raised although that doesn't mean it does not exist or, if it does, that I still will not challenge it as being immaterial to the war.

My goal is to determine what moves what in effective amounts.

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Post by Andy H » 03 Dec 2006 06:41

Jon wrote:
- I had the Herakles as sunk by a mine off Pantelleria, here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 710#924710 I shall proceed to edit my post accordingly. I did not know that the Utmost was operating from Malta already in March
Rohwer, in Allied Submarine attacks has the Herakles listed as damaged and the Ruhr listed as sunk. He must have then the wrong way around. He list 4 Torpedo's being fired. Not sure if he means 4 per target, or a 4 torpedo spread, though I think the latter more likely.

According to Alastair Mars 'British Submarines at War (1939-1945)' the Utmost seems to have arrived in late 1940 and been part of 8th Submarine Flottila based at Gib. The Utmost was in Malta come Feb'41, and around that time Utmosts Captain (Cayley) earned a DSO for a clandestine op.

Regards

Andy H

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Post by Wargames » 03 Dec 2006 08:58

Jon G. wrote:
If the lowest denominator in your wargame is a rectangular chit representing a battalion, then yes, that battalion can't be transported on a DD. However, as you have been challenged time and again, that battalion can break down into smaller parts as appropriate and be transported aboard several ships/aircraft/whatever. In real life, that is.

I don't expect an apology from you, but some clarity of thought would be greatly appreciated.
Well I may be owing you one as I thought it was Bronsky and not you who produced the two cases of a cargo ship acting as a tanker (and which evidence I have accepted.). I am outnumbered on this thread so it's not easy for me to remember who wrote what.

But getting back to your clarity of thought. My position (which may be wrong) is that warships cannot substitute as cargo ships or tankers (i.e. troops, supplies, oil) in any measurable significance. Your excerpts from me are:

...the Axis wargamer must divide his supplies into three groups since they require three different types of transport ships. They are "hard" transport (food, ammunition, and vehicles) carried by cargo ships, "soft" transport (troops carried by liners), and fuel transport (oil tankers). As soon as one runs out of one of these types of ships, one runs out of the means to deliver its particular cargo characteristics..."

There is nothing in the above contradicting my position on my perceived fallacy of trying to use warships as cargo ships or tankers. Next, you quoted me as follows:

"...You can load fuel barrells on airplanes and cruisers all you want and not provide the front with a drop in the bucket..."

The above statement is consistent with my position that warships will not provide the front with enough to fuel to be more than a drop in the bucket. Next, you quoted me as follows:

"...Warships will not transport troops..."

They won't in a meaningful way. I used the example of the Japanese landing thousands of troops on Guadalcanal by DD. They landed with nothing but bodies. They lacked any equipment they couldn't carry - including the simple heavy weapons company of a battalion. Since WWII was not fought on a battalion level, but on a brigade level, if one cannot land a brigade, with full equipment, you're not landing a meaningful combat unit. Warships cannot do this. The argument has been made that troops could be loaded up on a DD and their equipment on a separate cargo ship. I have voiced my doubts about that and still have them. I recognize a supporting citation was provided of DD's transporting troops to North Africa in late 1941 but Rich's posted landings did not support this happening. A brigade usually numbers about 5,000 men. It would take 17 DD's to land the men while cargo ships landed their equipment. What happens to port capacity when you do this? Or does a brigade get landed one battalion at a time (3-4 DD's plus transports)? If so, it's going to take at least thirteen trips to land an Italian infantry division. That's not very efficient. Rich's post raised the alternative possibility to DD troop transport that the troops could be flown in and their equipment shipped by sea but then stated that wasn't actually what was happening in the two months he used when he pointed out that "artillery battalions" weren't being landed - just "guns". By that, I conclude Rich meant that he selected two months where replacement troops and replacement equipment arrived only, and not new added combat brigades, and I would agree with that. Unfortunately, that doesn't answer how a combat brigade was transported and nothing was posted demonstrating that warships can land complete combat ready units.

Next, you quoted me as saying:


"... An Italian infantry battalion numbers over 800 men. What Italian warship ever landed a battalion anywhere? I'm not going to accept a citation of four guys in a rowboat. In supplying North Africa you must deal with meaningful numbers and the lowest meaningful denomination is a battalion..."

I was being really generous because the lowest meaningful denominator, except for battalions of heavy equipment (tanks and artillery) is actually a brigade. So I'm expecting them to be transported on a brigade level and I know warships can't do that.
If the lowest denominator in your wargame is a rectangular chit representing a battalion, then yes, that battalion can't be transported on a DD. However, as you have been challenged time and again, that battalion can break down into smaller parts as appropriate and be transported aboard several ships/aircraft/whatever. In real life, that is.
But that hasn't been demonstrated, has it? It's an assumption on your part. It's no different then my assumption that freighters aren't able to serve as tankers.

This is a change of subjects but I think it's related. In real life, something was wrong. The troops Rommell received in mid 1942 (Folgore, 164th Light, Ramcke brigade, etc) are without vehicles. They were air transported and intended to arrive without vehicles. Rommel received troops on foot, the parachute units being designed for air transport and to walk when they arrived at their destination. The parachute troops were not dropped behind enemy lines as partof an attack. Instead, they took up defensive positions (They can't be anything but defensive because they are not able to either advance or retreat in a situation of mobile warfare.). They were assigned to hold a line or end up as POW's if they didn't.

Someone has landed the wrong combats units to aid Rommel and, whoever did it, was thinking of air transport. They're either walking because there was no fuel to be had (And Rommel ran out of gas in August) or they're walking because there was no vehicle delivery system to be had. I'm not sure if there's a third choice (Although Rich described a shortage of DD's escorts which could lead to a supply shortage of both fuel and vehicles.) but, either way, something went wrong at sea. I'd like to know what it was. That Rommel accepted this indicates it was a forced decision. My previous assumption was that it was fuel shortage brought on by a tanker shortage that led to Rommel's receiving divisions that didn't run on gas (Although, historically, it's explained that these were the troops that were available due to the called off Malta invasion but, if that's the case, they're still the wrong divisions.). Anyway, as long as I'm on the subject of landing brigades, I thought I'd toss this question in too - Although maybe it deserves its own thread.

And if I owe you an apology, you have it.

I'm going to skip from here to Rich's post.

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